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Lives of Doctor Wives: Sell This House!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sell This House!

My husband has decided to take a Family Practice residency spot back in Tulsa, OK.....you know the place we moved from a short 8 months ago! This is our first home, so we have experienced many fun things that we have never shared in before. Now we are needing to sell it and again this is something totally new.

I would love to hear some advice, stories, and experiences that may help us in the process. I've been reading online, but really we have NO idea where to even start. The buyer's agents we used to buy this home treated us terribly and since we don't know anyone really in Muskegon, MI, we really have no idea who to trust to represent us. Do we need an appraiser? Does the realtor do that? Do we need to get things inspected? Has anyone sold their own home? How much should we expect to pay out of pocket??

Any pointers? Any ideas??? HELLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPP!

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6 Comments:

Blogger Desiree said...

Ok, since I've sold and bought 4 homes in the last year (ha ha, not according to plan), I'll bite. :)

My advice - get a realtor - but it has to be someone you trust. When we sold our home in Shawnee, our realtor didn't tell us she had resigned and was leaving, so she listed it and left (to her credit, we thought we had sold it right away but it fell through the same week she left). I called the broker / owner and asked for her top recommendation of a realtor that was energetic, on top of her game, computer savvy - not all around here (since by that point we would be selling long distance and everything would be scanned and emailed to us).

It makes sense that you were mistreated by the seller's realtor since they weren't really on your side. :( You want someone to advocate for you.

Someday when I'm in the position to sell an expensive house, I might try to do it FSBO (Kathi posted on this before) in order to avoid paying the realtor fee (usually 6%), but for a house $150k or less I think it's well worth the money to have someone else do the worth. Technically, we did sell our burned house FSBO, but the buyer's wife was a realtor and she handled the paperwork for $200. If you do want to try FSBO, I'd start with lots of pictures and post on Craigslist, FSBO dot com, and the other sites Kathi mentioned. The downside to FSBO is that people who are already working with a realtor may be less likely to look at a FSBO house (we were interested in some, but never went to look because our realtor was very efficient and as buyers, we aren't paying her anyway). If you want to sell it yourself, talk to a title company and they will give you the necessary paperwork.

If you go with a realtor, they will handle the paperwork and suggest a listing price - they will usually go by the average sale price per square foot of homes that have sold in your neighborhood (you can get this info on trulia dot com or zillow dot com to compare) and try to price yours a little below average to make it competitive. They should give you "comps" - comparative listings that have sold in your neighborhood. It all goes by sq ft, but quality, age, improvements, location, etc all factor in. Since you recently bought, you can figure out your price per sq ft and then add in the worth of the many improvements you've made and come up with a ball park figure before you talk to a realtor.

The buyer's lender will order the appraisal - they are $400-500 if you want to really know the worth of the house beforehand - but the realtors usually have a good idea. Make a good list of the improvements you've made to show to the realtor. Think about whether you want to make money or break even on your investment since it's a sudden move - buyers will expect you to come down on the price, especially in a bad market. (On tv the news idiots are telling buyers to offer 10-20% less in failing markets - I don't know what it's like in Michigan - in Jenks the market has finally slowed down but is still strong - houses are selling within 90 days - so we did not have much negotiating power when buying). Just keep in mind that your requesting price will probably not be the one you get (especially if there are realtor's fees involved).


To be continued since my comment is apparently too long, lol...

February 15, 2010 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Desiree said...

continued...

The buyers will also order inspections if they wish - don't waste your money on these - and you can make the house more marketable by offering a "1 year home warranty" (about $500 that comes out of your profit) - you can also try to sell it "as is" but that is a red flag for many. It looks like you've made some awesome improvements so hopefully it will turn out well.

One last note - even if you do use a realtor, also utilize all your word of mouth options - post on Craigslist, FB, your blog - try to get the word out there through family / friends / residency program people. As a last resort, if it doesn't sell, you can consider hiring a property manager to rent it out. But we are praying it sells! :)

If you have more questions, feel free to email or FB me. I'm sure others will have even more and better options. GOOD LUCK!

February 15, 2010 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

Thanks Desiree, you are the PRO!! Our house was a HUD Repo house, that we bought for $45,000, so we are definately hoping to make a profit. Houses in our area, that are not updated (paneling and other fine '70s garb) are selling for around 80,000-100,000, but we don't want to be greedy. Obviously we thought we had 4 years to fix it up so many things that we were hoping to complete have now been written off and necessities and cosmetic things have moved to the forefront. Thanks for all the great tips. It's great to know, that hopefully we wont have to pull anything out of savings, but that it will just be subtracted out of the profit, that's very reassuring!

I don't think we have the knowledge to sell it ourselves and 6% of our selling price isn't that much I guess, considering all the paperwork and lingo we have no idea about. I'm just nervous, so thanks for the info!

Keep it coming ladies!

February 15, 2010 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

No personal advice, but as someone with family in real estate and as someone who is looking my advice is to:
1) Keep your house clean and decluttered (but for some reason I just imagine you to have a perfectly organized house already)
2) If you have any bright colors or unique patterns try and paint walls a neutral white or cream, and change carpet to a neutral beige. People want to be able to imagine "their" home and sometimes with unique designs people have trouble imagining what they can do with rooms if things are already really unique (and not to "their" taste). More neutral things are also appealing to people because they do not have to worry about redecorating immeadiately.
3) Post LOTS and LOTS of pictures in your listing online, people like to see pictures, a lot of people assume if there aren't pictures then there is a reason.
4) Email the incoming residents to let them know your house is for sale!

February 15, 2010 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger Kathi the wingspouse said...

Only do improvements to the home that don't cost much and greatly improve the appearance. Fix marks on the walls, caulk missing areas around sinks, tubs, etc., weed and remulch your front area, add flowers (annuals or potted plants) near the front entrance, spot the carpets, and remove all signs of pets.

If you go with a realtor, limit the length of a contract to 3 months. If they insist on longer and you really like them, don't go longer than 5 mos and that's risky. You can always renew a contract monthly with a simple email, so realtors who do their job should accept 3-4 moths easily.

Read everything you sign. Don't sign anything just because someone says it's "standard language." There's no such thing.

Don't rely on a realtor to do all your work. Advertise online and spread the word anywhere you can. Realtors go for big exposure/little effort listings and often miss the little pockets of potential buyers. Especially advertise to people who don't have realtors. That way, your realtor can potentially give up the "other half" of the realtor fee (usually 3%) that she wouldn't have gotten anyway if another realtor was involved.

If you haven't already checked out my earlier post about selling a house, give it a quick scan: http://doctorwives.blogspot.com/2009/12/survivor-saturdays-selling-home-like.html

February 18, 2010 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger MW said...

I'm a renter, so I can't help you with the selling process, but it looks like you've already gotten great advice there.

I just want to note, though, that since you've held the property for a short time, you will likely have to pay taxes on any profit you make. There have been so many changes to the tax code in the last year or two that I don't know the details, thresholds or loopholes, but I just thought I'd give you a heads up so that you can have some liquidity if need be come tax time.

February 23, 2010 at 4:38 AM  

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